Cursed Child Review | Spoiler Free Zone

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.


When I heard there was going to be an eighth Harry Potter book, I was ... trepidatious, to say the least. What if it ruined my beautiful ending? What if my ships got sunk? What if - what if it just wasn't any good?

And then I pre-ordered it. Because a bad Harry Potter book is still a Harry Potter book. And I am still a massive Potterhead. The next six months were just me alternating between nailbiting and wanting July 31st to arrive immediately and just wishing it would go away. I really truly didn't know what to think.

The book showed up on my doorstep.

I ignored it for three days straight, then took it on holiday and ignored it some more. And then, on a morning when I ran out of other stuff to read, I decided to just have a peek at the first chapter. By lunch, I'd finished.
You'd probably think from that speed that I really enjoyed it - and make no mistake, I did - but I must also admit that because it's written in the format of a play script, there's a lot of blank space on each page. And while reading that does take a little bit of getting used to, I've always thought dialogue was the best part of J.K Rowling's writing, so I guess it suits this particular book better than it would others.

I'm not saying that Cursed Child is the same as the other Harry Potter books, just that the playscript doesn't make it different.

Here are the the things that, to me, make a Harry Potter book:
    1) Some kind of childish wonder involved in the magic (I know this gets darker during the later books, but there's always something there.)
    2) Incredibly intricate worldbuilding.
    3) The general atmosphere of Hogwarts. (Wizards at school is kind of the basic premise.)

The magic in this book wasn't just dark, it wasn't really explained that much. People would point a wand, yell, and somehow be able to do stuff which I'm pretty sure was impossible in previous books. I get that the Golden Trio are adults now and they are presumably more powerful, but there were just a few moments I found difficult to believe.

Yeah. I'm getting nitpicky about the realism of a Wizarding World. It's called being thorough.
While I am incredibly glad to tell you that the team who wrote this book have done a brilliant job at ... erm *desperately tries to avoid spoilers* weaving their narrative into the existing world, it didn't really add any new details. And I like the details.

As for point three, while two of the main protagonists do go to Hogwarts, I think there's a grand total of one or two scenes that actually occur within the castle. Maybe there are more, but I guess it's the one curse (ha ha ha) of a book being a play format. There's little to no description! And you can't see the set! So the settings can blur into each other a lot, and I honestly didn't get the classic Hogwarts atmosphere. It was a shame, but didn't make Cursed Child a bad book.

And that means I get to talk about the good things now! HUZZAH!

Firstly, can we just say how amazing this premise is? I feel like books - especially YA books - tend to finish right after the final battle 99% of the time. While that's very dramatic and can be really really well done, where's the ex-heroes who have to deal with trauma and survivor's guilt and not being a hero anymore? What about their families, who have to support them through all of it while under the horrible microscope that fame brings? What about the kids who have to grow up scrutinised, who might end up different to their famous parents and suspected for it?
Cursed Child was just a masterpiece in answering all those questions. Some characters acted in ways they seriously regretted later on, but their motivation was always amazingly understandable, and usually perfectly heartbreaking. I cried, I screamed, I stared at the book in horror and fascination and joy. The emotional response it created was pretty unbelievable, especially for something I'd mistrusted at first.

I also really loved how bravely traditional Potter boundaries were taken down in this book. I could write you a list, but the spoilers would be practically immeasurable. I'm just going to mention it and let those who've read it know what I mean. If you haven't, then I guess you'll have to cope with imagination for now and address that pronto.

This review was probably a bit more serious than the ones I usually write. Sorry if it wasn't what you were expecting, but I'm a girl who takes her Harry Potter seriously.

***
In the comments: If you've read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, do you agree with me? (PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE COMMENTS ARE A SPOILER FREE ZONE TOO!) How did you feel about the prospect of an eighth Potter book when it was announced? How do you feel about it now?
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2 comments:

  1. I love the idea of having an incerpt from the book at the beginning. I don't see myself reading this one though - I haven't read any HP books! Does that ban me from the book blogger community? ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I don't think you're banned - even some of the greatest bloggers in our community haven't read HP, so you're in good company ;). And while the theme of Cursed Child is very, very different to the others, I still wouldn't exactly recommend it to someone who hasn't read the original series. Too many inside references. I'm glad you liked the review though!

      Sorry it took me so long to reply to your comment! I've really got to get better at keeping on top of things...

      Delete

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